ICfL Update at ILA Business Meeting

photo of State Librarian Ann Joslin presenting at ILA Conference

At the 2013 Idaho Library Association Conference Welcome on Thursday, October 3, State Librarian Ann Joslin presented data from recent Idaho Commission for Library (ICFL) programs.

  • LiLI databases have seen a 65% increase in use in the last two years.
  • The Read To Me (RTM) program, in place for 16 years, is creating a level playing field to help families raise readers. Two recent programs are increasing access to reading materials and helping parents and caregivers understand the importance of libraries and of kids reading at home: 
    - The Read To Me Mini-grants program increased book collections at public and school libraries in FY13. The FY14 mini-grants focused on school libraries to enhance their collections and improve check-out practices for their youngest students. Because both years saw many more applications than we could award and the need is so great, we are asking for a $100,000 budget enhancement to double the funds we have available for the RTM Mini-grant program.
    - The Routes to Reading program, funded by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading,  is designed to significantly increase the amount of reading done in Idaho homes and child care settings. Focused on low income and rural families and reaching kids with prep materials for pre-school and kindergarten, it includes Books To Go, storytimes online at DayByDayID.org, and TumbleBook™ e-books.
  • Summer Reading participation increased 350% since 2001, with a 15% increase over last year. Summer Reading is another way to promote literacy.
  • The Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), “online @ your library,” significantly increased broadband speed in 55 public libraries and delivered 755 new devices to these libraries. New online resources for all libraries and all Idahoans who have Internet access include Scout Video Collections, Media Literacy Courses, Idaho Citizen Resources, Maximize Your Job Search online workshops, and LearningExpress Library (LEL).
    -  The estimated value of the resources provided in LEL since the beginning of use is $5,335,685.
    - Idaho libraries demonstrated how much they value LEL by committing to funding it for an additional eight months to fill in the gap from October 31, 2013 when our current subscription runs out and July 1, 2014 when we hope to fund it through a requested budget enhancement. It is heartwarming and rewarding to see how library community came through.
    - Public Access Technology use grew 57% in BTOP connectivity libraries. 
    - We collaborated with partners: Idaho Public Television helped create some of the new resources—including a virtual tour of the refurbished Capitol—and helped promote statewide resources and Internet at Idaho public libraries. Through the Idaho Department of Labor came the job search workshop, other workforce development resources, and help funding digital literacy coaches at public libraries. We worked with the Idaho Office for Refugees to train 12 digital literacy trainers who were fluent in 16 different language and  reached over 2000 refugees in six months.

Joslin noted that Idaho libraries offer a variety of resources as well as a place to learn something new. When she talks to legislators, they always tell her what’s going on in their libraries. She thanked the libraries for their good work.

For more highlights from the conference, click here.